Amber Waves is album #50 for me. The songs keep coming. The words and experiences deepen and the next thing I know there’s a record dying to be recorded. The trick is to not over-think it. Over thinking anything is the recipe for grandiosity and (possibly) resulting in jest & ridicule.
Still, we’re all living in similar skin. Our themes and stories through generations, whether rich or poor, are not dissimilar.
That’s a lot of writing, recording and touring. I’ve lived on the road the better part of 22 years. That proximity to the lives of folks all over the US and abroad is why I love the American people and Americana music.
Some of the early albums were released on major/minor labels. But most of them are simple, independent labors of love, released under-the-radar to a cult of fans who never seem to give up on me. I call that “Grace.”
With a shot of oblivion. Shaken, not stirred.
There’s strong thematics of grief & hope on this one. This record is about the last word Love gets in the face of death and grieving. It is sometimes about the “failed experiment” of democracy. It is about a joy born of something closely resembling a child’s naivete. And that “thing” that is born is vital, enduring. It’ll flies in the face of reality’s harshness & cruelty.
It is about a widening chasm between the surfeited well-to-do and the those who are downtrodden & “kept out of the game.” It is about the confusion in our hearts and the weariness in out spirits.
It is about courageously living with incongruities of faith & life where once “definitives” use to hold the day. It is about leaning on each other’s shoulders, bearing each other’s burdens as a way to incarnate a shaky faith.
And finally: It is about “betting the farm” on a Love that is beyond imagining, even beyond our wildest hopes. These days Hope & Imagination drift upon a tempest-sea where the battle to become truly human is played out. And on many (most?) days our courage to hope and imagine are often felt to be drowning.
Maybe all good art starts and ends in the wounded-ness of our own spirits. I’ve written for 20 years, album after album, just to “heal” myself. Nothing more than that.
If “Amber Waves” has a “message” it is that our pasts (national and personal) are full of grieving, pervaded by a certain wounded-ness. Sometimes our pasts are shameful. But such “pasts” are often nuanced by acts remarkably tender and heroic. Our “histories” are full of examples of faith & courage & compassion.
Love (again) has the last “say.” It’s all here.
There is much water to be drawn from from very deep wells.
We live in an era, full of “static.”
Love, if not lost all together, is often hard to find, sense and experience.
This record is part of my journey to sense and affirm that that Love is alive and well. Garage-y, noisy, reflective, transparent, grieving…straining at affirming, I think.
But mostly? It’s just passionate, heartland rock & roll.
Remember: Don’t “over-think it, kids.”